Johnnie Ray

'Til Morning

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In 1959, wishing to make the jump from heart-throbbing vocalist (literally) to adult pop singer just as Bobby Darin had, Johnnie Ray released a standards LP. 'Til Morning was recorded with Billy Taylor's quartet, featuring the elegant pianist as well as Mundell Lowe (the guitarist who appeared on both of Ray's big hits, "Cry" and "The Little White Cloud That Cried"). Ray pitches his delivery halfway between the crying, confessional temper of his chart material and the more sedate vocal pop of the day, resulting in a nice middle ground that won't appeal to every listener, but does have much to say for itself. His range is a bit narrow, and he occasionally lets a few teen idol hiccups into his voice, but his versions of "It All Depends on You," "Day by Day," and "I'm Confessin'" are expressive yet quietly felt. Taylor, and especially Lowe, are very expressive in the background, making 'Til Morning a solid date for a post-stardom Johnnie Ray.

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